Top 5 Fights To Make In the Wake of UFC 169
These Fights Should be Booked in the Aftermath of UFC 169
Let’s not sugar coat things, UFC 169 in New Jersey won’t be remembered as one of the most exciting cards that the promotion has ever delivered. A record 10 fights on the card went to a decision which was a surprise given the number of explosive finishers who competed. There was not a single submission victory and of the two fights that ended in finishes, one of them, the main event, was of a highly controversial nature.
The Super Bowl weekend event did showcase two dominant Brazilians who continue to establish themselves as two of the best fighters in the entire UFC. Jose Aldo cruised to his sixth consecutive title defense while camp teammate Renan Barao is proving himself to be one of the most dangerous fighters in the sport. While referee Herb Dean caught some flak for what was perceived as a premature stoppage against Urijah Faber, it didn’t diminish the fact that he was dominating the fight. Veteran heavyweight Alistair Overeem emerged victorious in a bout that was labelled as a loser-leave-town matchup while Ali Bagautinov continued his rise in the flyweight ranks. The big winner on the night was dangerous lightweight Abel Trujillo. He netted a pair of bonuses for Fight and Knockout of the Night for his second round KO of Jamie Varner in an action-packed affair that stole the show.
Unfortunately, a couple of matchups that were expected to produce plenty of fireworks fizzled. Both the Bagautinov-John Lineker bout and John Makdessi vs. Alan Patrick left fans restless. As always, it was a big night for some fighters while other competitors saw their stocks take a serious hit. As we like to do after every major UFC event, I’ll put on the matchmaker’s hat and examine the top five fights that should be made in the wake of UFC 169.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports
5. Abel Trujillo vs. Bobby Green
Trujillo turned in a career-best effort by destroying the durable Varner, becoming the first fighter to ever stop the veteran by strikes. Trujillo is a vicious puncher and is knocking on the door of top 10 territory. Trujillo seems to have his act together with back-to-back wins and Green is also on a major roll with a 3-0 Octagon record. Green has won seven straight fights. The two fighters had actually been scheduled to meet at UFC 169, but Green was forced to withdraw. “Killa” vs. “King” would have the makings of a standout striking battle and matchmakers should seriously consider rebooking the fight.
4. Ali Bagautinov vs. Demetrious Johnson
The Russian Combat Sambo ace remained unbeaten inside the Octagon in grinding out a decision victory over Lineker in a fight that was regarded as a title eliminator by many. He outworked the dangerous Brazilian and employed his strong grappling game to stunt Lineker’s potent offense. Bagautinov would seemingly be the front-runner to face the dominant champion after his third straight UFC triumph. “Mighty Mouse” will represent a night and day difference in speed and athleticism than what the stalking, plodding Lineker presented. Johnson has taken his game to another level and had as fine a year as any fighter in 2013. He made three successful title defenses including a devastating knockout of highly regarded contender Joseph Benavidez in their rematch at UFC on FOX 9 in Sacramento.
3. Alistair Overeem vs. Junior dos Santos
Overeem’s career is back on track after the dominant victory over Mir. Overeem bloodied Mir and turned in a much more patient effort. “The Reem” had been slated to face “Cigano” twice in the past only to see the bouts fall apart at UFC 146 and UFC 160. It’s time to try again and match two of the most powerful strikers in the heavyweight division.
2. Renan Barao vs. Dominick Cruz
Barao’s ascension in the pound-for-pound best discussion continued after his terrific effort against Faber. It’s unfortunate the nature of the ending soured many fans, but doesn’t diminish Barao’s reputation. Barao had been set to face Cruz in a unification bout at UFC 169, but “The Dominator” was forced to withdraw with a groin injury. He hasn’t fought since 2011 and facing the dangerous Barao seems an awfully difficult prospect for Cruz, but if the organization previously green-lighted the matchup, it would make sense to have the two fighters prove who’s the better man inside the Octagon.
1. Jose Aldo vs. Anthony Pettis
Not only is this the best fight to make after UFC 169, it may be one of the best fights that the promotion can put together in 2014. Aldo’s dominant reign as featherweight champion has him with no more real challenges other than to pursue a fellow champion that he was scheduled to face in the past. A fight at UFC 163 for Aldo’s featherweight title with Pettis was scrubbed because of an injury to “Showtime.” The timing is right for these two exciting and highly-skilled fighters to test their extensive skills against one another.